PREVIEW: Bury St Edmunds host bottom club Barking
- Credit: Archant
Bury St Edmunds should give their supporters an early Christmas present against league whipping boys Barking today (3pm ko), but coach Gavin Hogg has warned his team not to be complacent.
The Haberden-based team are fifth in National League 3 (London & SE) and are big favourites to pile more misery on to a team that have lost every one of their 13 games this season.
The Irishman is confident of delivering a festive cracker but also warned against complacency in a league which can be unforgiving.
“On paper it should be a straightforward win, but as we have found at this level, if you have an off-day, teams can beat you,” said Hogg.
“We certainly won’t be taking Barking lightly and the weather, which is forecasted not to be great, can even things out.”
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Hogg’s side won the reverse fixture 42-27 in the second week of the season and a victory today would see them end this year well positioned to challenge the top four teams come the new year.
“We want to end the year on top of the chasing pack,” said Hogg.
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“We know all about our opponents and it was a funny old game at their place.
“It was a game in which I always felt comfortable we would win but we had to keep our concentration.
“Barking are quite disjointed in attack and it is important that we have the numbers on each side of the ruck.
“They maybe don’t have the structure of a top team but that can make them a dangerous proposition.
“They did pose us a few problems but if we can apply ourselves like we did in our victory against Hertford last week, I am confident we can make it eight wins and six defeats going into the new year.”
Hogg will be without secoond-rows Aaron Waters (hamstring) and Cody Gray (broken thumb) but otherwise has a stable squad to choose from as he targets a repeat performance of last week’s victory.
“We played some fantastic rugby without the ball,” said the Suffolk Coach of the Year.
“It was the first game this season that we have stopped the opposition from crossing our line which is never easy and to achieve that was a great accomplishment.
“We want to end 2013 with a win and kick on and try and target some wins against the teams above us who have beaten us this season.”